Jackets Deadline Deals

By Aaron Vickers

Jackets Deadline Deals

Columbus Blue Jacket General Manager Doug MacLean was a somewhat busy man Tuesday, trying to better his team for the 2002/2003 season. Although the deals he made were no Pavel Bure-New York Ranger type blockbusters, the Jackets made some payroll available by sending two players packing.

As expected and predicted, the Columbus Blue Jackets dealt the franchises first and only captain, Lyle Odelein. However, Odelein did not go to one of the teams I had predicted he would go. I counted on a trip to either Detroit or Colorado. Odelein, as we all know now, went to the Windy City, Chicago.

Odelein certainly brings a lot of characteristics to the Hawks, who were obviously happy to bring him in. Odelein has been to the big show before, winning the cup with the Montreal Canadiens. He’s obviously a strong role-model and leader in the dressing room, otherwise he wouldn’t have been named captain in Columbus. He’s a character player who plays solid defense and can play a rough game.

In exchange for Odelein, I feel the Jackets did rather well. They picked up Jaroslav Spacek, a defenseman with a lot more upside. Despite being 28, Spacek is only in his fourth NHL season. He has struggled this season, registering only 3 goals and 13 points in 60 games this season. He has a career high 10 goals and 36 points while with the Florida Panthers in his rookie season. Along with Spacek, the Jackets also picked up a 2nd Round Pick in 2003, a draft hat is said to be deeper than that of the upcoming 2002 draft.

The other trade made by MacLean saw him bring in another defenseman. Jamie Allison was brought in via Craig Button and the Calgary Flames. Allison, a disappointment for the Flames, Allison found it tough to crack the lineup. In 243 career games, Allison has 7 goals, 25 points, and 380 PIM.

Picking up Allison, the Jackets gave up Blake Sloan, who had two goals and nine points in 60 games so far this season. Sloan, 26, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and has competed in 188 games in his NHL career, putting up nine goals and 31 points.

Before Allison was picked up by the Jackets, a few days ago the Jackets parted service with Jamie Pushor. Pushor, a Group II Free Agent at seasons end, will be easily replaceable by someone from Syracuse next season. The Jackets aquired a 4th round pick for him from Pittsburgh.

While I dont understand the aquisition of Allison, I commend MacLean landing a nice package for Lyle Odelein. Not only will Spacek help quarterback the Jackets Powerplay Unit, that 2nd round pick in 2003 could most definately serve to pickup a nice player down the road.

On a saddened note, I would like to send out my condolences to the family of 13 year old Brittanie Cecil, who died after being hit with a puck at a Blue Jackets game on Monday night. She would have turned 14 Wednesday. My prayers are with her family.